West of Frome in Somerset, England, lies the ruins of the medieval castle of Nunney. Founded by Sir John Delamere, the castle consists of a single courtyard surrounded by a water moat fed by a natural stream. Delamere supposedly funded the construction through ransom money obtained from the wars with France during the 14th century.
The makeup of the castle is fairly simple. Four large drum towers form the corners of the castle’s rectangular tower-house. The southern and northern pairs of towers are extremely close together, which gives Nunney a unique design. The gate was once a part of the western curtain wall. Inside, there are three stories and a basement. The first story is the hall with a large fireplace, and on the top story are the remains of a small chapel.
According to 17th century drawings, the four drum towers once had conical roofs with a walkway running below them and encircling the top story of the castle. The remaining corbels that once supported the walkway indicate that the walkway was most likely made of wood and projected out from the curtain walls.
The families of Paulet and Prater owned the castle after the Delameres. During the great Civil War, the “New Model Army” brought down the western curtain wall and captured Nunney. Supposedly, a traitor to the Prater family informed the besieging army that the western wall was the weakest section of the castle.
“Nunney Castle.” http://www.timeref.com/hpl1203.htm (accessed December 8, 2009).
Oman, Charles. “Nunney Castle: A Chateau in Somerset.” Edited from Charles Oman’s “Castles.” http://www.britannia.com/history/somerset/castles/nunneycast.html (accessed December 8, 2009).
*photo by Tom Oates, Creative Commons License